Sunday, October 5, 2008

How to make perfect lump free gravy

With Thanksgiving around the corner I thought that I would share my secret to perfect gravy. A lot of people tell me that they hate making gravy and they will shamefully admit that they will just use canned gravy or a gravy mix. Say it isn't so! Most of those "over the counter" gravies have MSG and all kinds of other stuff in them that does not belong on your Thanksgiving table. Here's my solution to making a great lump free gravy:

First, you have to decide what kind of thickener you are going to use. If you are going to make a milk gravy, you will want to use flour. If you are making a clear light brown or brown gravy you will want to use corn starch.

Next, you will want to get your thickener ready. Place the flour or cornstarch in a bowl and then slowly add a little milk, water or broth, first forming a paste. Don't add hot liquid or you will cook the flour or cornstarch. By making a paste first you are not giving the flour or cornstarch the opportunity to cook in a lump before it has been evenly distributed throughout the gravy. After you have a paste slowly start stirring in more liquid until is is thin enough to pour easily. Now set the thickener aside. If you have a pan with drippings you will want to place it in the stove over a burner. (assuming that it is stove top safe) If there is not a substantial amount of liquid you will want to add water or stock to the pan. If you don't have pan drippings to work with you can still make a very good gravy by using canned stock and reducing it a little bit. (boiling it until it reduces by almost half) Bring it to a boil and stir using a whisk to dissolve and lift any of the baked on bits in the pan. Once you have brought it to a boil you will want to quickly whisk in your thickener. Stir the thickener one more time to make sure that the flour or cornstarch didn't settle to the bottom. Then pour into the boiling liquid with one hand while whisking with the other.

It shouldn't take long for the gravy to thicken. I'm sorry I do not have actual recipe measurements, I just always guess. I think that I use about a about tablespoon of flour for every cup or so of liquid. When I am using cornstarch is is probably more like 2 teaspoons for every cup or so of liquid. I always check the seasoning as the gravy is thickening. If you are making a brown gravy, try adding soy sauce in place of salt sometime. Please comment if you have questions and let me know if you try this method and how it worked for you.

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